WA Distributed Energy Resources Program

AEMO’s Western Australian (WA) Distributed Energy Resources (DER) Program has been established to support the effective integration of DER into the Wholesale Electricity Market (WEM) and the South West Interconnected System (SWIS) as outlined in the WA government Energy Transformation Taskforce’s  DER Roadmap, published in April 2020.  The WA DER Roadmap outlines a collaborative approach by AEMO, Western Power (WP), Synergy and other stakeholders to address challenges arising from increasing DER installations including:

  • Minimum operational demand continuing to drop creating technical challenges for managing voltage. 
  • Increasing DER contribution to our energy mix is occurring alongside increasing large-scale renewable generation. The changes displace the conventional generation technologies that have traditionally provided our bulk energy supply requiring reconsideration of system security parameters for the SWIS.
  • Technical standards, regulation and market constructs are not established to manage large volumes of DER generation feeding back into the grid.

The DER Roadmap aligns with recommendations made in AEMO’s Integrating Utility scale Renewables and Distributed Energy Resources in the SWIS analysis published in early 2019. 

Aligning with AEMO’s role as the market operator, AEMO’s work centres around four key workstreams to address emerging risks and support the evolution of the SWIS and WEM to safely integrate DER and enable consumer participation in energy and related markets:

  • The Technology Integration Workstream will uplift foundational capabilities to forecast, plan and operate a secure and reliable high-DER SWIS. This workstream includes developing and applying tools to better understand DER behaviour applying outcomes from this work to uplift system security parameters such as under-frequency load shedding and system restart and enhanced DER performance (delivering on actions 1, 3, 10, 12 and 13 of the WA DER Roadmap).
  • The DER Participation Workstream tackles the regulatory and market development requirements to enable DER to participate in the WEM and to provide network support services to Western Power. AEMO’s goal with respect to these actions is to deliver a more efficient and sustainable WEM through the participation of DER (delivering on actions 24, 25, 27 and 29 of the WA DER Roadmap, and enabling AEMO to plan for implementation of the operational systems to enable participation).
  • A major DER Marketplace Demonstration Pilot (‘Project Symphony’) will be implemented in partnership with Western Power, Synergy and ARENA. Potentially the largest demonstration project of its kind, Project Symphony will run trials that test and design systems to support the ‘Hybrid Model’ outlined in the WA DER Roadmap (delivering on actions 22 and 23 of the WA DER Roadmap). Run in parallel to the DER Participation Workstream, Project Symphony will share learnings directly with the DER Participation Workstream.
  • Design and implementation of a DER Register for the WEM, leveraging AEMO’s NEM DER Register. AEMO will be expanding this system to integrate information provided by Western Power for DER across the SWIS. This project will make this data available to the for forecasting, operational and compliance purposes, while also creating a public reporting dashboard for WA-specific DER data (delivering on action 15 of the WA DER Roadmap).

Reference Information:

The WA Minister for Energy has endorsed the DER Roadmap activities to be undertaken by AEMO to support its implementation, in relation to system management and market operations.  

Under the Wholesale Electricity Market Rules, AEMO has applied to the Economic Regulation Authority for an adjustment to its approved budget for the current regulatory period to reflect the costs incurred in respect of these activities.  

AEMO’s response to the WA Government’s consultation paper on DER Orchestration Roles and Responsibilities represents the first step in the development of formal arrangements for DER participation engaged from July 2023.  

The submission outlines AEMO’s views on the implementation of the Hybrid Model for DER Orchestration in the SWIS; including enabling DER aggregators to ‘value-stack’ services to the market and network, and approaches to lower barriers-to-entry and costs for DER and aggregators. 

AEMO held an industry forum on 27 August 2020 to further outline activities associated with implementing the DER Roadmap - the presentation is available here: 

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